“Cooeeee! Sanjay! Namaste!”
Aurora knew, even as she did it, that waving and shouting at a former Buddhist monk after he had just led the group in a particularly cleansing chakra meditation was probably not the order of the day, but she had to get his attention before he left the resort – sorry, wellness centre – for his three-month silent retreat, and she hadn’t been able to chat before the class.
Over the course of the five years that she had been coming to Kundalini for a two-week, all-inclusive return to self, Sanjay had mentored her through a number of difficult milestones: the end of her three-year relationship with Robert (who had heartbreakingly chosen his distinctly non-tantric wife over her); the death of Om, her adorable French bulldog; the sale of her Mayfair flat for two-thirds of the asking price; and, most painfully, a certain prime minister’s premature departure from 10 Downing Street just as she had started giving him and his wife thrice-weekly private yoga lessons.
Every year, without fail, Aurora had landed in Phuket a broken woman and every year, without fail, she had returned home ready to take on the world. Intriguingly, it actually didn’t take much to reawaken life’s potential – just a daily dose of vitamin D, the sound of running water wherever you went, five or six pounds of weight loss and a total, unconditional immersion in the self.
Because, you see, self-love was all that really mattered. One of the greatest regrets of her life was that she hadn’t had longer to awaken the former prime minister’s inner consciousness to that particular truth. How very different the global landscape might now look if she had.
Sanjay smiled that wonderful, enlightened smile of his and bowed deeply. They had always had a remarkable connection, full of light and love. Last year, he had, he told her, noticed that her aura had turned from violet (indicative of being close to a state of equilibrium) to gold (spiritual mastery) and suggested that in light of this she change her name to Aurora. Naturally, she had done so without blinking. She had never much liked the name Lisa anyway.
As she walked towards him now, hands outstretched (Sanjay didn’t do hugging), she was almost knocked off the edge of the meditation pavilion by a 6ft Russian with silicone implants. This wasn’t the first time this morning that this Interloper had disturbed her chakras: at sunrise power vinyasa yoga with Maitreyavira, Aurora had been quite put off her downward dog by the fact that the Interloper had eschewed the resort uniform of simple, white cotton pyjamas for a hot-pink Eres bikini.
And then, to add insult to injury, she had taken her top off – actually taken her top off! – on the resort’s secluded private beach. One of the guests, a South American tin-mining heiress in her 70s, had been so shocked that she’d dropped her teacup of ginger tea and quite badly burnt her leg. Well, what could you expect, Aurora had sighed as she helped mop up, when a glossy magazine named this undiscovered gem of a wellness centre Spa of the Year?
As the Interloper threw herself into Sanjay’s open – open? – arms, Aurora had to resort to some serious pranayama to keep herself calm.
“Aurora, meet Natasha. Natasha, meet Aurora.”
Aurora reached out to shake the Interloper’s hand, and almost cut the tip of her finger off as she brushed an enormous diamond ring.
“Natasha’s husband, Misha, and I worked together on Wall Street,” Sanjay said, smiling beatifically, “before I joined the monastery.”
Aurora looked at her watch. If she didn’t have her wheatgrass shots in the next 15 minutes, then tomorrow’s colonic hydration might well get messy.
“When do you leave for your retreat, Sanjay?” she asked, before taking it upon herself to explain the situation to the Interloper. “He needs to get away for a little bit; too many needy unenlighteneds draining his chi. Isn’t that right, Sanjay?”
Sanjay simply smiled and bowed his head.
“I leave tomorrow morning, thank you for asking. Misha and Natasha are kindly taking me on their yacht to Java and we are having a week at Amanjiwo in Borobudur to prepare me for the rigours of my hut in the hills.”